The demand for electricity in the coming irrigation season could be as high as 16,000 MW -substantially above last year's peak demand of 14,782 MW.
This was estimated and informed in an inter-ministerial coordination meeting, convened by the Power Division on Tuesday. Currently, the installed power generation capacity is more than 25,000 MW. However the sector has been struggling to generate even half the capacity due to fuel shortage.
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Presiding over the meeting, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said that power supply will be ensured on priority basis during the irrigation season.
"If there is any possibility of a power shortage, distribution companies will have to deal with the matter in an alternative way," he directed the officials of the power sector.
The irrigation season begins in February and ends on May 31 each year, and during that time, demand is bumped up excessively.
The meeting was informed that for this year's irrigation season, some 4,65,456 irrigation pumps will be connected to water the fields, which will consume an extra 2,400 MW compared with the normal demand.
It discussed the measures taken to enhance the supply of gas, furnace oil, and diesel to increase power generation and priority-basis gas supply to gas-fired power plants to ensure uninterrupted power generation.
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The officials of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) were asked to ensure smooth transportation and supply of imported petroleum fuels to the power plants through communication with Road Transportation Ministry, Railway Ministry, Roads and Highway Department, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, Petrobangla and Barapukuria Coal Mining Company.
They were also directed to repair transmission and distribution lines and ensure at least 2 months' storage of fuel for power generation at the power plants and also form monitoring teams.
Power secretary Habibur Rahman, BPDB Chairman Mahbubur Rahman, BREB chairman Selim Uddin, Petrobangla chairman Ganendra Nath and Power Cell director general Mohammad Hossain were present at the meeting.